'We are taking the hit' - Hartlepool chippies feel the strain of cost of living and VAT hikes

Fish and chip shops in Hartlepool are fearful for the future after being hit with rising costs with some already forced to close.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 2:34 pm
Updated Friday, 17th June 2022, 8:20 am

Chippies in town have been hit by a triple whammy of skyrocketing ingredient prices because of the war in Ukraine, higher utility bills and the Government increasing VAT after Covid.

The cost of cooking oil, potatoes and fish have all gone up significantly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A box of fish has more than doubled from £135 a box to up to £280.

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Harry Pattar owner of Harry's Fish Bar at Seaton Carew. Picture by FRANk REID

Businesses in Hartlepool say they have been forced to pass on some of the increases to customers.

But some say they are are still struggling and have called on the Government for help by cutting VAT.

Their fears come as the Mail spoke to one shop which has closed and another operator who said it would not be renewing its lease.

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Phillippa Lambert-Shaheen frying at Mary Lambert in Villiers Street, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

A third business, Harry’s Fish Bar, at Elizabeth Way, in Seaton Carew, is also concerned.

Owner Harry Pattar said: “Since the war in Ukraine broke out fish has literally doubled in price, but we can’t double our prices.”

The shop has increased some prices, but is wary of driving away customers affected by the cost of living crisis.

Harry added: "We are taking the hit. It’s very hard at the moment and quite a few fish shops have closed.

"Every time I put the prices up I notice a difference in footfall.

"At the moment we’re a lot more worried about what’s happening because fish is still going to go up because of fuel prices and the war in Ukraine shows no sign of stopping soon."

At award-winning Mary Lambert restaurant and takeaway, in Hartlepool town centre, co-owner Eric Lambert said: “Every element that we’re using has gone up from the oil to the packaging, to the fish, chips and peas.

"Nothing is going up by one or two per cent, it is 20% or 30%. It’s very difficult.”

Fish and chips accounts for about 60% of the business alongside its bakery.

He said it is impossible to predict the future but remains optimistic, stressing: “We’re not going anywhere.

"It’s a challenge that has to be faced, and we do the best we can.”